After rejecting an offer to finance a coup d'etat in the Caribbean, Mel Profitt becomes obsessed with a supposed voodoo death curse, and Vinnie, horrified, can only watch as Mel's personality begins to disintegrate.

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Susan Profitt
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Louis Cabra
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Emanja Mora (as Charlaine Woodard)
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Mae Nina
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Helena Yea ...
Preet (credit only)
Marc Bourrel ...
Tailor (credit only)
Marilyn Chin ...
Girl (credit only)
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Storyline

After rejecting an offer to finance a coup d'etat in the Caribbean, Mel Profitt becomes obsessed with a supposed voodoo death curse, and Vinnie, horrified, can only watch as Mel's personality begins to disintegrate.

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Crime | Drama | Mystery

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22 February 1988 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

This episode was picked by TV Guide as one of the "100 Greatest TV Episodes" ranking at #14 in the June 25, 1997 issue. See more »

Goofs

Because of a post-production error, the end credits list three actors from a previous episode (Wiseguy: Player to Be Named Now. See more »

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Every Tyrant Has a Hungry Right Hand
15 March 2014 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

Undercover FBI man Vinnie Terranova (Ken Wahl) has toiled in the service of the Profitt family pretending loyalty to psychotic Mel (Kevin Spacey) whilst romancing Mel's beautiful sister Susan (Joan Severance). Mel has shown himself to be the wildest of wild-cards pulling a gun on Vinnie multiple times, going off on weird tantrums and targeting enemies who weren't enemies until he targeted them over reasons which appear absurd until they strangely don't.

Another wild-card in the storyline is Roger LoCocco (William Russ) - a lethal yet industrious and resourceful right hand man of the Profitt's. Roger and Vinnie are friends but also rivals for position in the Profitt organization. The previous episode to this revealed that LoCocco was in the employ of the CIA (or at least a faction within it), undercover like Vinnie but with a very different objective i.e. to forward American foreign policy. In this episode Vinnie discovers who LoCocco's real employers are.

LoCocco introduces Mel to sleazy ex-military thug Louis Cabra (Richard Portnow) who wants to overthrow the dictator of his island nation and become it's new dictator - one beholden to the CIA. Mel immediately suspects him of being part of an evil cult with very little on open display to suggest that to any rational person. A man of genius IQ, Mel is often right and happens to be correct in this instance. Cabra is very much an adherent to an evil cult.

Vinnie learns that Cabra wants to kill young leftist activist Emanja (Charlayne Woodard) who is symbolic leader of a Marxist uprising. Vinnie, trying to play hero, finds her before Cabra and offers her protection. In exchange he asks that she help Mel find spiritual protection from Cabra even if it is just to humor Mel. She obliges but uses the most powerful magic to protect herself from both Mel and Cabra resulting in deadly consequences for her enemies.

Mel's superstitious fears become his undoing. Believing a curse has stolen his soul and unable to find solace in new talisman (a magic tattoo) he implores Susan to give him a fatal injection to end his suffering and she tearfully complies. So ended Kevin Spacey's 7 episode run as the most memorable character in the series.

Vinnie, far from the sharpest tool in the shed to begin with, is left completely beside himself as his FBI handler McPike (Jonathan Banks). Emanja didn't turn out to be quite the victim he thought she was and actually served to complicate things. The situation with LoCocco changed once again. Beginning on the show as a low-level underworld trigger-man Vinnie was merely meant to file a cursory report on him.

LoCocco and he hit it off so completely that Vinnie found himself pulled into the Profitt crime family circus of horror - a prime target for the FBI and fully worthy of Vinnie's attention but an assignment which served to drain him emotionally and nearly cost him his life.

In LoCocco, he is left with a friend/quarry he continually shows himself to more than what he appears professionally and philosophically. Vinnie and McPike are left to ponder whether his undercover activities have done more harm than good or even made the slightest difference either way.

This show was never better because the theme of subjective morality and utilitarianism of undercover work was never more coherently explored than it was in this episode. But also the complexity of the interactions between the characters had evolved seemingly so naturally.


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